Giant spider the size of my hand
July 29, 2009
Hi WTB- My family was heading out to our above ground pool to swim on a VERY hot afternoon- approx 95 degrees F. When my husband noticed a GIANT spider sitting on top of the railing with an egg sack. I think its facinating the kids think its gross :) She wasn’t hurting anything- so I got out my camera got some good pix; and then gently moved her to our wood pile with a stick which she gladly grabbed onto without fighting…. maybe you can tell us what she is.
Sincerely, Amanda and the Weikel family
Collegeville, Pennsylvania

Fishing Spider with Egg Sac

Fishing Spider with Egg Sac

Hi Amanda and Weikel Family,
This Fishing Spider, Dolomedes tenebrosus, is perfectly harmless, though we expect she would try to defend her egg sac if you threatened.  Fishing Spiders are generally found near water and they are capable of diving beneath the surface to escape predators or to hunt prey.  They can catch small fish underwater.  Fishing Spiders carry their egg sacs around in their chelicerae or jaws, as opposed to Wolf Spider that drag the egg sac behind them on a silk thread.  We hope your children learn your tolerance of the lower beasts.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Mystery bug on milkweed
July 28, 2009
I live in the Houston area. I am finding these strange larva on my tropical milkweed – along with the ever-present aphids. I don’t know whether to squish them or protect them. Are they good or bad?
Sherrie
Houston, TX

Syrphid Fly Larvae eat Oleander Aphids

Syrphid Fly Larvae eat Oleander Aphids

Hi Sherrie,
These Syrphid Fly larvae are predators in the family Syrphidae that are feeding on the Aphids.  The adult flies are sometimes called Flower Flies or Hover Flies and they are pollinating insects.  We don’t know exactly what genus or species your Syrphid Fly Larvae belong to, but they should not be squished.  Here is a link to the Syrphid Fly Larvae posted on BugGuide.
The Aphids are Oleander Aphids, Aphis nerii, and they are common on Milkweed.  They infest our outdoor Hoya species in Los Angeles.  You can read more about the Oleander Aphid on BugGuide as well.

Update:
syrphid larvae
April 25, 2010
Oh my gosh! Thank you for this website! I went out with a wet papertowel to remove the hundreds of aphids on my Japanese Maple and saw these little worms/catapillars on my tree. I decided to look them up before removing them because it looked like they were eating the aphids. I found the answer real easy by Googling “aphid eating worms” and you were the first site that popped up. YAY! Thank you for this service and saving the syrphid : )
Lorraine

Hyper-agressive “Jaws”
July 29, 2009
I believe this is a “Sunspider” which is actually not a spider at all. What struck me was how aggressive they are. This one chased me around the garage, literally, and once under a cup, ran at my finger or my camera for ~30 minutes. He’s have bit me at least 1000x if I’d let him out. The last photo (3011) is him lunging at my finger (dark spot at top of photo). Angry little bug.
Todd in AZ
NE Scottsdale, AZ, USA

Sun Spider

Sun Spider

Thanks for sending in your awesome images Todd.  Solpugids or Sun Spiders are very adept and aggressive hunters, but thankfully, they do not have venom so they will not harm you.  We cannot recall ever getting a report of anyone who has even been bitten, though your photos indicate that could be a possibility.  We still maintain that they are harmless but aggressive hunters who will do far more good alive eating cockroaches and other unwanted annoyances in the home than they will dead.

Sun Spider

Sun Spider

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Type of Florida Spider
July 28, 2009
Please help me identify this spider.
Many Thanks,
Magnus
Satellite Beach, FL

Orchard Orbweaver

Orchard Orbweaver

Dear Magnus,
The Orchard Orbweaver, Leucauge venusta, is a common spider in the Southeast.  According to BugGuide its habitat is :  “Woodlands. Builds in low shrubs or small trees, close to the ground
and it can be identified by the “Slightly elongated abdomen marked with silver, yellow, black, green, and bright orange or pink spots. Spins its web at an angle and hangs in the center.

What is this insect?
July 28, 2009
I took this photo at Poring Hot Springs in Sabah, Borneo. It was about 15 cm long, at least half of that being the antennae.
Susan
Borneo

Unknown Katydid from Borneo

Katydid from Borneo:  Pseudophyllus species

Hi Susan,
When it comes to tropical insects, identification for us is often a c%#p-shoot.  With that said, we are relatively certain that this is an Orthopteran, and more specifically, one of the Long Horned Orthopterans in the suborder Ensifera, and probably one of the Katydids in the family Tettigoniidae.  We would like a second opinion on that and perhaps one of our readers will be able to come up with a genus and species.  Karl, are you busy?

Hi Daniel:
Not unexpectedly, Borneo is blessed with an impressive diversity of katydids (Tettigoniidae), most of them poorly documented on the internet. My hunch is that Susan’s bug is in the genus Pseudophyllus which has many of the right characteristics (large size, green color and, at least sometimes, dorsovdentral compression). Most species also have the shoulder spots evident in Susan’s photo, although I couldn’t find any images that looked quite right. It is a relatively small genus with at least three representatives on Borneo (P. dyaka, P. colosseus and P. hercules). Nothing else I found came close, but if I find the time I may try to look again. Regards.
Karl

Update
July 29, 2009
Wow, thanks! Well, i’m thrilled about that because that’s what I thought it was but a naturalist friend of mine said it couldn’t possibly be a katydid. It’s always so gratifying to be vindicated. LOL! BTW, did this go up on the blog? Don’t you think he’s beautiful? Anyway, I’ll look forward to the other opinions, too.
Thanks again, Daniel.
Susan

Update:  January 24, 2013
We just received a comment that suggested the genus
Phyllozelus, and this image on FlickR looks quite close.

who is this handsome devil?
July 27, 2009
found July 18 2009
near Clearwater British Columbia Canada
df
Clearwater British Columbia Canada

Yellow Banded Day Sphinx

Yellow Banded Day Sphinx

Dear df,
We researched your caterpillar on Bill Oehlke’s wonderful website and we are pretty certain that this is a Yellow Banded Day Sphinx Caterpillar, Proserpinus flavofasciata.  As its name implies, the adult moth is diurnal.  According to Bill’s website:  “The Yellow-banded day sphinx, Proserpinus flavofasciata (Wing span: 39 – 49 mm), flies in Alaska south through British Columbia to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado, and from British Columbia east across southern Canada to Nova Scotia and Maine.
”  The website also indicates:  “Larvae feed on willow weed (Epilobium) and possibly thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus).  Mature larvae pupate and overwinter in burrows dug under stones and other solid objects. The penultimate instar is pale green with a pair of pale, dorsolateral lines running from the head to the base of the short caudal horn. The last instar is brown-black with numerous black dots; caudal horn replaced by a black button surrounded by a white band edged with black.”  The depth of field on your photograph is quite shallow, but the focus on the head and caudal button makes identification easy.  We are going to copy Bill on this response so he can add your sighting to the comprehensive data he is compiling.